Both Norman's Donovan Roberts and Owasso's Keon Hatcher said Garrick McGee was a big reason they chose to commit to Arkansas.
The pair each call McGee more than just a football coach who recruited them. Both refer to McGee, a Tulsa native, as a family friend.
But both said that McGee's leaving his spot as Arkansas' offensive coordinator to take the head coaching job at Alabama-Birmingham wouldn't change their decisions to go to Fayetteville.
“Right off the bat, I felt it was really good for him,” Roberts said. “I was just really, really happy for him. No recruit wants to lose a great coach like he is, but it was the right move for him to make.”
McGee's departure was a bit more of a stumbling block for Hatcher, but he remains committed to Arkansas despite a recent offer from Oklahoma State.
“Me and my parents talked it over, and we still felt like Arkansas was where I should be,” Hatcher said.
McGee, who starred at Tulsa Washington and then at OU, has been a huge part of Arkansas' strong push into Oklahoma in recent years.
The Razorbacks have seven Oklahomans on their roster, including three that started — Broken Arrow's Alvin Bailey, Tulsa Washington's Eric Bennett and Muskogee's Robert Thomas.
Hatcher didn't close to door to anything, but the wide receiver did say he looked forward to working with Arkansas wide receivers coach Kris Cinkovich.
“He's going to make me a lot better,” Hatcher said.
Hatcher had an outstanding senior season, helping Owasso to the Class 6A semifinals and averaging more than 16 yards per catch. He scored 20 times.
But he still figures to have plenty of room to grow. Hatcher just turned 17 during the season.
“I'm still pretty young, so I figure I've got some room to mature physically,” Hatcher said. “But we'll see how it goes. I'm just looking forward to working hard to get on the field there.”
Roberts turned in outstanding numbers as a senior — 1,595 yards and 23 touchdowns rushing — while being hampered with a slight groin injury most of the year.
He wasn't healthy until the season's final game, where he ran for 212 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to Owasso.